Family Time

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I am far from a professional portrait photographer. I’m far from a professional anything photographer. So when my sister-in-law asked me to take some family photos for her towards the end of last year, my natural reaction was to panic. Had the request come from anyone else, my answer probably would have been a flat out no! But, because it came from family I felt a little give. I discussed my worries with my husband (I don’t know how to pose people; My photos are nothing compared to the array of professionals around town; I’ve never attempted to capture a large group before) and eventually decided that I would give it a go.

It took a bit of organising to decide on a time for a session that would suit everyone, we had to work around children in school, preschoolers, a recently born baby, and the roster of a Police Officer in training; all up there are eight people in the family, with the children ranging in age from newborn (creeping up on six months old now) all the way up to nine years old. We set a date and I set about researching ideas for capturing the family in the best way possible.

Part of my research was practising on anyone who would let me point the camera in their direction, and trying to find a way to run through some group poses to give me an idea of settings; I wanted to make sure everyone was in focus and able to be seen. So I called upon a friend and his family, tacked them onto ours, and voila! the perfect practice family. Unfortunately, most of those photos were horrendous and ended up finding their way to the cutting room floor. No fault of the models, all down to my lack of experience and skill in that area.

When the day rolled around I was still extremely nervous about it all, and I think I let them get the better of me. I didn’t come away with very many useable images, and I felt that I had wasted everyones time in even attempting the session. I wallowed for a little while in my own disappointment, and eventually told my sister-in-law what was going on. I wanted to try again, but didn’t want her to have to go through the hassle of organising all the children again when I didn’t even know that I would get any good images the second time around; but she agreed to another session and we headed up for another wander around the park. This time we went a little earlier in the day and I mostly just followed the children around, trying to capture them as naturally as possible. There were one or two times where we asked them to sit or stand in a certain spot, and those images worked reasonably well too.

I haven’t finished working my way through them just yet, my computer is ancient and temperamental at the best of times, which makes processing photos a slow and frustrating task; but I am mostly happy with what I have worked through so far, and what I have given the family.

Would I do it again? Maybe… It really depends on who was asking and what they were after as an end result, and they’d need to be well aware of my NOT PROFESSIONAL status. And… I might need to put a new computer on the wishlist before any of that was to happen; but let’s not get started on wishlists, we could be here until next week.

 

Seeking Love and Friendship

Searching for the perfect companions. Someone who enjoys play time, long walks, and sloppy kisses. Someone who is looking for unconditional love, and is not afraid of commitment. Someone who understands.

There are so many animals dumped, or lost, at local council pounds every single week. Some of these animals are lucky enough to be adopted by a fantastic family, or saved by a rescue group and put into foster care while they wait to find their perfect home. Some of these animals have had an awful existence prior to being dumped; and some aren’t lucky enough to be rescued. Unfortunately, council run animal shelters only have limited resources and are sometimes forced to euthanasie animals who are not claimed or rescued.

Thankfully there are wonderful people who commit their time, energy, and finances to saving these poor souls; and finding them the perfect home. Locally, there are several rescues with quite a large number of cats and dogs looking for their new families. Some of them are left in such a state that they are afraid of people; some are on the brink of death. These wonderful volunteers spend time nursing the animals back to good health, and help them learn to trust again. Some of these dogs and cats have been waiting for their perfect people for longer than they deserve to.

A few weeks ago I had reached a point where I felt confident enough to approach a few local rescues about taking photos for the profiles of the dogs, and cats, they have in their care. I decided back when we adopted Presley that it was something I would love to do, I just had to build the confidence and skills that would allow me to actually put myself out there. I’m so glad I did, and I don’t want to stop meeting these amazing people doing such awesome work.

http://www.petrescue.com.au/listings/235599

Skeeter
Skeeter is thought to be a little Jack Russel Terrier. He is so relaxed and quiet, and follows his foster carers happily. He is quite the little poser, and would make the perfect lap dog.

Skeeter

Skeeter
Skeeter is thought to be a little Jack Russel Terrier. He is so relaxed and quiet, and follows his foster carers happily. He is quite the little poser, and would make the perfect lap dog.

Sadie

Sadie
Sadie is a Staghound x Labrador, and will grow to be a large dog. She is only around four months old at the moment, and look at those paws! She absolutely loves to play, and is the first one to come up for cuddles.

Sadie

Sadie
Sadie is a Staghound x Labrador, and will grow to be a large dog. She is only around four months old at the moment, and look at those paws! She absolutely loves to play, and is the first one to come up for cuddles.

JellyBean

JellyBean
JellyBean is Sadies sister, she has a beautiful nature and loves to sit at your feet. Her entire body moves when she wags her tail, she is just that happy. Like Sadie, JellyBean will probably grow to be a large dog; they both have paws that need growing into.

JellyBean

JellyBean
JellyBean is Sadies sister, she has a beautiful nature and loves to sit at your feet. Her entire body moves when she wags her tail, she is just that happy. Like Sadie, JellyBean will probably grow to be a large dog; they both have paws that need growing into.

If you are looking for the perfect addition to your family, if you have unconditional love to give, and a lot of understanding, please consider adopting a pet from a rescue organisation. It doesn’t even have to be local, most of the adoptions from the local rescues have been from interstate. Check out Best Friends Pet Rescue, R.A.D.A.R., S.M.A.R.T., Needy Paws Dog Rescue, and Blue Plus Animal Rescue. Or you could get lost on the PetRescue site, where most of the animal rescue organisations upload adoption profiles for the animals in their care; be prepared to fall in love on every page.

Rocky Hill

Although the name provokes images of movie montages and fist pumps, the hill itself is actually quite beautiful. Not too steep, which makes it a pretty good walk for the kids, and there’s plenty to look at while you’re walking along. The kids spent a fair bit of time surveying the landscape below, mostly trying to find our house and their Dads work. It’s pretty cool being able to spot certain landmarks from on high, I like the sense of perspective and scale that you get; kind of puts you in your place.

Madalyn 2013-07-02-Rocky Hill-Toadstool-002_small 2013-07-02-Rocky Hill-Toadstool-003_small 2013-07-02-Rocky Hill-Wattle-001_small Not only did we spot those familiar landmarks, but we also spotted some native fauna; a family of kangaroos. One even had a joey in its pouch. They startled very easily, not surprising when you’re exploring with noisy children, and so I didn’t get any good photos of them; but we did see them. Pinky swear.

One of the sights I usually love seeing as we drive past Rocky Hill, is all the spring blossoms colouring the hillside. I wasn’t expecting to see any of those blossoms making an appearance while we were there, considering it was (is) the middle of winter, but there were quite a few starting to flower; and in the last few days I’ve seen more tinges of purple as we drive past.

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I’m still learning and experimenting with processing, trying to find a style that I like; and although I tried to keep all of these in the same style, they still came out looking different. I usually just try and stick to basic processing, but I branched out a bit with these. Still not really sure about the final products.

Enough of my prattling on, I have to go charge the battery up for a drive to the alpine region tomorrow. It was actually cold enough to snow last weekend, and I’m holding out hope that one of my favourite places will have a bit of cover this weekend. Fingers crossed.

Restyled

Earlier today I share a couple of photos of our new kitten, Pepper. I took them a couple of days ago while she was sitting on our window sill in the sunshine. Probably not the best light for photos, but I couldn’t resist.

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Before applying the ‘Nashville’ edits, where I finished processing last time.

After I posted the blog, I also shared one of the photos on Instagram. I cropped it into the square and added a filter, Nashville, that gave it a little something more. I fell in love with the end result, and decided I had to learn how to try and emulate that look in Photoshop. Unfortunately, I don’t yet have the full suite of Photoshop, I just use Elements 10, so I couldn’t do the last step – which is a curves adjustment. I tried to get the right look at the end, but I’m not sure I quite got there without that last step. I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.

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With a different crop and the edits from the tutorial, with a little tweaking at the end for Elements.

Something New

We have a new member to our extended furry family. She’s been here almost three weeks now, and Sienna is not impressed. Being a 13 year old cat who used to spend a lot of time outside makes one grumpy. Apparently.

2013-05-31-Sienna_small 2013-05-31-Sienna-2_smallThe correct way to introduce a new cat to an existing cat includes isolating the new cat in their own little area until existing cat is used to the new scent; usually when they stop reacting negatively to it as they pass the door, or after you’ve been in to play with the new cat. The idea is to gradually introduce them, reducing the initial impact of the newcomer and allowing them to suss each other out without coming to blows. They say it usually takes around two weeks, but it’s taking Sienna a little longer.

We had considered adopting an older kitten from a local rescue organisation, but I’m not sure Sienna would have accepted a more mature cat at all; especially considering how unhappy she has been about a kitten joining the ranks. We have kept them apart as much as we possibly can in our little house, which is hard with no spare bedrooms and five people needing access to the bathroom, but Sienna is still not happy. She doesn’t hiss just at the smell anymore, but she still isn’t happy if she spies the little cat.

Alright, enough of calling her little cat. The kids named her Pepper.

2013-07-11-At Home-Pepper-001_small 2013-07-11-At Home-Pepper-002_smallI had to take Pepper to the vet on Monday because Pepper’s eye looked a little sore, he found an injury on the outside of her cornea that probably came from Sienna swiping at her through the door. The only upside is that Sienna was a little more interested in Pepper on return from the vet. So we are hoping it won’t take too much longer for Sienna to settle into the idea of having a little sister, she has certainly been entertaining her playful side more often since the new addition.

Home Bodies

It’s been a pretty good winter so far. Given that we’re only a month in there is every chance that I will be eating my words soon. I suppose good is subjective though. I don’t think the ski resorts would be jumping for joy that the cold hasn’t truly set it.

Even though it hasn’t been too cold, so far, we haven’t really been up to much. Mostly hanging around the house, playing with the furry family members, and doing a bit of craft. Which isn’t always as fun as it sounds with an eight, four, and two year old all vying for the supplies. Madalyn has been learning to knit, she can cast on much better than I could at her age; and she is much more patient with it too. I remember plenty of frustrating moments when my mother tried to teach me. And then the kids and I climbed a hill close to home a few days ago. Rocky Hill. I will admit that whenever I say the name of this particular hill I am reminded of this, but I think the name comes from the fact that the hill is covered in giant rocks. it is quite possibly made of those rocks as well, seeing as some were flush with the ground.

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